Norwegian Buhund

Table of Contents

norwegian buhund portrait
Welcome to the world of the Norwegian Buhund, a charming and energetic dog breed that's sure to steal your heart! These adorable furballs, hailing from the picturesque lands of Norway, are not only versatile working dogs but also affectionate family companions.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The Norwegian Buhund is an ideal match for active individuals and families who enjoy spending time outdoors and engaging in physical activities. They thrive in a home where they can be involved in daily routines and receive consistent mental stimulation through training and socialization.

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMENorwegian Buhund
OTHER NAMESNorsk Buhund, Norwegian Sheepdog
ORIGINNorway
BREED GROUPHerding Group
BREED SIZEMedium
HEIGHT16-18.5 inches
WEIGHT26-40 lbs
LIFESPAN12-15 years
LIVING SPACELarge
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERLow
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERModerate
GROOMING NEEDSModerate
EXERCISE NEEDSVery High
TRAINABILITYHigh
BARKING TENDENCYModerate
BITING TENDENCYLow
DROOLING TENDENCYLow
SHEDDING LEVELModerate
POPULARITY RANK178th
norwegian buhund running across a field
Photo: Zande

Appearance

The Norwegian Buhund is a medium-sized, well-proportioned, and sturdy dog breed that exudes strength and agility. Their balanced body structure allows them to excel in various tasks, from herding livestock to participating in dog sports.

When it comes to height and weight, male Buhunds typically stand between 17 to 18.5 inches tall at the shoulder, while females are slightly smaller, measuring 16 to 17.5 inches. The average weight for males ranges from 31 to 40 pounds, and females usually weigh between 26 to 35 pounds.

The Buhund’s head is wedge-shaped with a defined stop, giving them a keen and alert expression. Their moderately sized, almond-shaped eyes come in various shades of brown, with darker hues being more desirable. The ears are medium-sized, pricked, and pointy, contributing to their attentive and lively appearance.

These dogs have a strong jaw, featuring a scissor bite – where the upper teeth neatly overlap the lower teeth. Their muscular neck supports the head and transitions smoothly into well-laid-back shoulders. The Buhund’s back is level and strong, with a moderately sprung ribcage that provides ample space for heart and lungs, ensuring endurance during work.

One of the distinctive features of the Norwegian Buhund is their bushy, high-set tail, which curls tightly over the back and rests on the hip, creating a characteristic wheel shape. This tail adds an extra touch of charm to their overall appearance.

Their legs are straight and powerful, with well-arched feet and hard pads that enable them to traverse various terrains with ease. The Buhund’s hindquarters are muscular, with well-bent stifles and low hocks, allowing for quick turns and bursts of speed when herding or participating in dog sports.

The Norwegian Buhund’s double coat is another notable feature. The outer coat is thick, hard, and smooth, while the undercoat is soft, dense, and insulating, providing protection against harsh weather conditions.

Coat colors include wheaten (pale cream to bright orange) and black. Some wheaten Buhunds may have dark-tipped hairs or a black mask, while others may exhibit white markings on their chest, feet, and tail tip.

Overall, the Norwegian Buhund’s appearance reflects its purpose as a versatile working dog, combining agility, endurance, and strength with an attractive and spirited expression.

norwegian buhund sitting on a rock
Photo: TrippelA/Pixabay

Temperament

The Norwegian Buhund, hailing from the rugged landscapes of Norway, is a dog breed that often leaves a lasting impression. A single encounter with this ancient breed is enough to understand why they’re so beloved.

Let’s start with their sheer zest for life. The Norwegian Buhund is a lively, cheerful character that brings a spark of joy wherever they go. Their infectious energy can light up any room and their playful antics are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. They’re the type of dog that can turn even the gloomiest of days into a fun-filled adventure.

But it’s not just their high spirits that make them stand out. The Norwegian Buhund is also an incredibly affectionate breed. Their love for their family knows no bounds – they are the kind of dog that will always be by your side, ready to give you a comforting nudge or a loving lick. They thrive on companionship and their idea of a perfect day is simply being with their people.

One of the most striking traits of the Norwegian Buhund is their intelligence. Known to be quick thinkers, they are always alert and observant. They have a keen sense of their surroundings and are often one step ahead. This makes them highly perceptive and intuitive dogs. It’s as if they can read your mind and anticipate your needs before you even realize them.

But don’t let their intelligence fool you into thinking they’re all work and no play. On the contrary, the Norwegian Buhund is a happy-go-lucky breed. They approach life with a carefree attitude, always ready for a game or a romp. They are light on their feet and display a level of agility that is truly impressive. Their playful demeanor coupled with their nimble movements is a sight to behold.

Beneath their playful exterior lies a confident and brave heart. The Norwegian Buhund is not easily daunted. They carry themselves with a certain poise and assurance that is truly admirable. This confidence, however, does not translate into arrogance. Instead, they remain humble and grounded, never forgetting their roots as hardworking herding dogs.

Lastly, the Norwegian Buhund is known for their sweet disposition. They are gentle and kind, always eager to please. They get along well with children and other dogs, making them a fantastic addition to any family.

Ideal Environment

The ideal environment for a Norwegian Buhund is one that caters to their physical, mental, and social needs. These dogs thrive in settings where they can engage in regular exercise, receive consistent mental stimulation, and be an active part of the family’s daily life.

Physical Environment

When it comes to physical environment, the Buhund can adapt well to various living situations, from rural homes with spacious yards to urban dwellings with smaller outdoor spaces. What matters most is providing them with ample opportunities for daily exercise and play.

A securely fenced yard or regular visits to a dog park can help meet their need for physical activity and social interaction with other dogs.

Climate Adaptability

Regarding climate adaptability, the Norwegian Buhund’s double coat provides excellent insulation, making them well-suited for colder climates.

They are capable of withstanding harsh winter conditions, thanks to their ancestral roots in the chilly regions of Norway. However, it is still crucial to provide them with adequate shelter and warmth during extreme cold spells.

On the other hand, the Buhund’s thick coat can make them more susceptible to overheating in hot climates.

In warmer temperatures, it is essential to ensure they have access to shade, fresh water, and opportunities to cool down. Avoid exercising your Buhund during the hottest parts of the day, and be vigilant for signs of heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Ideal Owner

The Norwegian Buhund is best suited for pet parents who lead active lifestyles and are willing to involve their furry companion in outdoor adventures, such as hiking, jogging, or participating in dog sports.

Additionally, these intelligent dogs require pet owners who are committed to providing ongoing training, socialization, and mental challenges to prevent boredom and behavioral issues.

Other Pets

In a multi-pet household, the Buhund can coexist peacefully with other dogs and even cats, provided they are properly socialized from a young age. However, it is essential to monitor interactions between the Buhund and smaller pets, as their herding instincts may sometimes lead them to chase or herd these animals.

norwegian buhund in the winter
Photo: MustapääU/Pixabay

Grooming

Grooming plays an essential role in maintaining the health and well-being of a Norwegian Buhund. Regular grooming not only keeps their coat looking neat and clean but also helps minimize shedding, prevents matting, and allows you to monitor their overall health.

By understanding the specific grooming needs of the Buhund, you can ensure that your furry friend looks and feels their best.

Coat Care

The Norwegian Buhund has a double coat consisting of a dense, soft undercoat and a thick, hard outer coat. This breed experiences seasonal shedding, with more significant shedding occurring during spring and fall as they transition between their winter and summer coats. To manage shedding and maintain a healthy coat, it is crucial to brush your Buhund regularly.

During the peak shedding seasons, daily brushing is recommended to remove loose hairs and prevent matting. A slicker brush or a deshedding tool, such as the Furminator, can be particularly effective at removing dead hair from the undercoat. In periods of less shedding, brushing your Buhund two to three times a week should suffice to keep their coat clean and tangle-free.

When it comes to bathing, the Buhund does not require frequent baths, as their coat has natural oils that help repel dirt and debris. Bathing them every two to three months, or when they become particularly dirty or smelly, is usually sufficient. Be sure to use a gentle dog shampoo that won’t strip away the coat’s natural oils, and take care to thoroughly rinse out any soap residue.

Dental Care

In addition to coat maintenance, it is essential to pay attention to other grooming aspects, such as dental care, nail trimming, and ear cleaning. Regular dental care is crucial for preventing plaque buildup, gum disease, and bad breath.

Ideally, you should brush your Buhund’s teeth daily using a canine toothbrush and dog-specific toothpaste. Alternatively, dental chews, toys, and treats can also help maintain good oral hygiene, but they should not replace regular brushing.

Nail Trimming

Nail care is another vital aspect of grooming for the Norwegian Buhund. Long nails can cause discomfort, affect their gait, and potentially lead to injuries. It’s essential to trim your dog’s nails every three to four weeks using a suitable nail clipper or grinder designed for dogs. If you’re unsure about trimming your dog’s nails yourself, consider seeking assistance from a professional groomer or veterinarian.

Ear Care

Finally, it’s important to keep your Buhund’s ears clean and dry to prevent infections and irritation. Check their ears weekly for signs of redness, foul odor, or excessive wax buildup. To clean their ears, use a gentle dog ear cleaner and a cotton ball or cloth to wipe away debris. Avoid inserting anything into the ear canal, as this can cause injury.

norwegian buhund playing in water
Photo: MustapääU/Pixabay

Exercise

The Norwegian Buhund is an energetic and athletic breed with a strong need for regular exercise. Meeting their exercise requirements is crucial for maintaining their physical health, mental well-being, and preventing boredom-related behavioral issues.

Exercise Amount & Types

On average, a Norwegian Buhund requires at least one to two hours of exercise daily. This can be divided into multiple sessions, including walks, playtime, and other activities that engage their body and mind. Keep in mind that the intensity and duration of exercise may vary depending on factors such as age, health, and individual temperament.

When it comes to walks, aim for at least two daily outings, with one being a longer, brisk walk or hike to challenge their endurance. Buhunds also enjoy off-leash playtime in securely fenced areas where they can run, explore, and socialize with other dogs, such as dog parks. Remember to always supervise your dog during off-leash play to ensure their safety and the safety of other dogs.

Interactive games, such as fetch, tug-of-war, and hide-and-seek, can also be incorporated into your Buhund’s exercise routine. These games not only help burn off energy but also encourage problem-solving and reinforce training commands.

Dog Sports

In addition to walks and play, the Norwegian Buhund excels at various dog sports, which not only provide physical exercise but also offer mental stimulation.

Activities like agility, obedience, rally, herding trials, and scent work can be excellent outlets for their energy and intelligence while also strengthening the bond between you and your dog. Training for and participating in these sports can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your Buhund.

Exercise Precautions

As with any dog breed, it’s essential to monitor your Buhund’s response to exercise and adjust accordingly. Be mindful of their energy levels, and watch for signs of fatigue or overheating, especially in hot weather. Always provide access to fresh water during and after exercise to keep your dog hydrated.

Training

The Norwegian Buhund is an intelligent, eager-to-please breed that is generally highly trainable. Their keen intellect and desire to work with their owners make them well-suited for various types of training, from basic obedience to advanced dog sports. However, it’s essential to understand the best approaches to training a Buhund to ensure success and maintain a strong bond with your dog.

Positive Reinforcement

When it comes to training a Norwegian Buhund, positive reinforcement methods are the most effective and rewarding. These dogs respond well to praise, treats, and play as rewards for good behavior and successful completion of tasks.

Using forceful or harsh training techniques can lead to fear, anxiety, and reduced trust in their owner, which can hinder progress and damage the relationship between you and your dog.

Consistency

Consistency is another crucial aspect of training a Buhund. Establishing clear rules and expectations from the outset will help your dog understand what is expected of them and make it easier for them to learn new commands and behaviors. Be patient and persistent, as some tasks may take longer for your dog to master than others.

Socialization

Socialization should be an integral part of your Buhund’s training process. Begin socialization early in your dog’s life by exposing them to a wide variety of people, animals, environments, and situations. This will help your Buhund develop confidence, adaptability, and appropriate social skills, ultimately resulting in a well-rounded and well-behaved adult dog.

Preventing Boredom

Keep in mind that the Buhund is an active and energetic breed, so incorporating training sessions into their daily routine can help channel their energy in a productive and fulfilling manner. Short, frequent training sessions are more effective than longer, infrequent ones, as they help maintain your dog’s interest and engagement.

norwegian buhund lying on grass
Photo: MustapääU/Pixabay

Diet & Nutrition 

A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for the overall health and well-being of a Norwegian Buhund. Providing your dog with the right type and amount of food will help maintain their energy levels, support growth and development, and contribute to a healthy weight and body condition.

What to Feed & How Much

When selecting food for your Buhund, look for high-quality commercial dog foods that follow the guidelines set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). These products are formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of dogs at various life stages.

You can choose between dry kibble, wet (canned) food, or raw food diets, depending on your preference and your dog’s specific needs.

The amount and frequency of feeding your Buhund will depend on factors such as their age, weight, activity level, and individual metabolism. Puppies generally require more frequent meals (3-4 times daily) to support their growth and development. As they mature into adulthood, you can gradually reduce the number of meals to twice daily.

To determine the appropriate portion size, refer to the feeding guidelines provided on the dog food packaging and adjust according to your dog’s specific needs. Keep in mind that highly active or working Buhunds may require more calories than sedentary dogs. Regularly monitoring your dog’s weight and body condition will help you fine-tune their feeding regimen.

It is essential to consult with your veterinarian when making decisions about your Norwegian Buhund’s diet and nutrition. They can provide guidance on the best food options, portion sizes, and feeding schedules tailored to your dog’s specific needs and health concerns.

Treats

When it comes to treats, opt for healthy, low-calorie options, such as bite-sized pieces of lean meat, fruits, or vegetables. Treats should be given in moderation, making up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake, to prevent overfeeding and weight gain. Use treats as rewards during training sessions or as an occasional indulgence.

Water

Fresh water is a critical component of your Buhund’s diet. Ensure that your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times, especially during hot weather or after physical activity. Regularly clean and refill their water bowl to encourage proper hydration.

Health

The Norwegian Buhund is generally a healthy and robust breed, with a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. However, like all dog breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Being aware of these potential risks and providing a healthy diet, regular veterinary care, and appropriate vaccinations can help ensure your Buhund enjoys a long and healthy life.

Here are common health issues associated with the Norwegian Buhund breed:

Hip Dysplasia: This is a genetic condition in which the hip joint fails to develop correctly, leading to arthritis and pain over time. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and providing joint supplements can help manage this condition. Screening for hip dysplasia through x-rays is recommended for breeding dogs.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is an inherited eye disease that leads to gradual vision loss and eventual blindness. Responsible breeders should screen their dogs for PRA before breeding to reduce the risk of passing on the gene.

Cataracts: Buhunds may also be prone to cataracts, which can cause cloudiness in the lens of the eye and affect vision. Regular eye exams and early intervention can help manage this condition.

Von Willebrand’s Disease: This is a blood clotting disorder that can result in excessive bleeding after injury or surgery. A DNA test is available to identify carriers of the gene responsible for this condition.

Patellar Luxation: This condition occurs when the kneecap (patella) slips out of its normal position, causing discomfort and potentially leading to arthritis. Maintaining a healthy weight and providing joint support can help manage patellar luxation.

To keep your Norwegian Buhund healthy, provide them with a balanced and nutritious diet that meets their specific needs. Consult your veterinarian for guidance on the best food options, portion sizes, and feeding schedules.

Regular veterinary check-ups and vaccinations are essential for monitoring your Buhund’s health and preventing common canine illnesses. Establishing a good relationship with your veterinarian and scheduling routine wellness exams will help ensure any potential health issues are detected and addressed early.

norwegian buhund sleeping on the sidewalk
Photo: MustapääU/Pixabay

History

The Norwegian Buhund is an ancient breed with a rich history that dates back to the time of the Vikings. Originating in Norway, these versatile dogs were bred for their herding abilities, guarding properties, and as dependable companions.

The Buhund’s name is derived from the Old Norse word “bu,” meaning homestead or farm, and “hund,” meaning dog – a testament to their long-standing role as farm dogs in Norwegian culture.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the breed has been present in Scandinavia since at least 900 AD, with remains of dogs resembling the Buhund found in Viking burial sites. These dogs were highly valued by the Vikings, who brought them on their travels and expeditions both as working dogs and as companions.

Over time, the Buhund’s excellent herding skills and adaptability led to their widespread use in rural areas across Norway, primarily for herding sheep and cattle and protecting farms from predators.

For centuries, the breed remained relatively isolated in Norway, with little exposure to outside influences. However, this began to change in the early 20th century, as interest in preserving and promoting native dog breeds grew.

The first official breed standard for the Norwegian Buhund was established in 1926 by the Norwegian Kennel Club, which sought to standardize the breed’s physical appearance and temperament.

The initial efforts to establish the breed outside of Norway began in the 1940s when the first Buhunds were imported to the United Kingdom.

Although the breed’s popularity grew steadily in Europe, it remained relatively unknown in the United States until the latter half of the 20th century. The Norwegian Buhund Club of America was founded in 1983 to promote the breed and encourage responsible breeding practices in the US.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) first recognized the Norwegian Buhund as a member of its Foundation Stock Service in 2006, and the breed was officially admitted to the AKC’s Herding Group in 2009. Since then, the Buhund has gained recognition for its versatility, intelligence, and friendly nature, participating in various dog sports and activities such as agility, obedience, rally, and herding trials.

Today, the Norwegian Buhund remains a rare breed outside of its native Norway, but its loyal following of enthusiasts continues to grow. As more people discover the breed’s rich history, versatile skills, and affectionate nature, the Buhund is gradually gaining recognition as a valuable and cherished member of the canine world.

Parent Club

The official parent club for the Norwegian Buhund in the United States is the Norwegian Buhund Club of America (NBCA). Founded in 1983, the club is dedicated to promoting the breed, encouraging responsible breeding practices, and providing education and resources for Buhund owners and enthusiasts. Visit their official webpage for more information about the club.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed.

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

Check out the Norwegian Buhund’s breed standard as set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

norwegian buhund lying on grass
Photo: MustapääU/Pixabay

Acquiring

When considering acquiring a Norwegian Buhund, it’s essential to research the breed thoroughly and ensure it’s a good fit for your lifestyle. Prepare for an energetic, intelligent, and affectionate companion that requires regular exercise and mental stimulation.

Rescuing a Buhund can be a rewarding option instead of buying from a breeder. Many rescue organizations and shelters have Buhunds in need of loving homes. The American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Norwegian Buhund Club of America (NBCA) can provide resources and assistance in finding rescue organizations or available dogs.

Before bringing a Buhund home, prepare your living space by providing a comfortable sleeping area, toys for mental stimulation, and supplies for grooming and training. Also, locate a veterinarian experienced with the breed and establish a routine for exercise, training, and socialization.

Remember that adopting a Buhund is a long-term commitment, so take time to make an informed decision to ensure a happy and fulfilling life together.

FAQs

Are Norwegian Buhunds a rare breed?

Yes, Norwegian Buhunds are considered a rare breed, especially outside of their native Norway. While their popularity is gradually increasing, they remain relatively uncommon compared to other breeds.

Are Norwegian Buhunds good pets?

Yes, Norwegian Buhunds make excellent pets for the right family. They are intelligent, affectionate, and loyal companions that thrive in active households. Their adaptability and eagerness to please make them suitable for various activities, including dog sports and obedience training.

Are Norwegian Buhunds hypoallergenic?

No, Norwegian Buhunds are not considered hypoallergenic. They have a double coat that sheds seasonally, which may trigger allergies in sensitive individuals. Regular grooming can help minimize shedding and reduce allergens.

How much exercise do Norwegian Buhunds need?

Norwegian Buhunds are an energetic and active breed that requires one to two hours of regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. Daily walks, play sessions, and participation in dog sports or herding activities can help meet their exercise needs.

How trainable are Norwegian Buhunds?

Norwegian Buhunds are highly trainable dogs due to their intelligence and eagerness to please. They respond well to positive reinforcement techniques and enjoy engaging in various training activities, from basic obedience to advanced dog sports.

Are Norwegian Buhunds good with children and other pets?

Yes, Norwegian Buhunds are generally good with children and other pets, especially when properly socialized from a young age. They are known for their friendly and gentle temperament, making them a suitable choice for families. However, supervision is always recommended when introducing any dog to young children or new pets.

What health issues are common in Norwegian Buhunds?

While generally healthy, Norwegian Buhunds can be prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, Von Willebrand’s disease, and patellar luxation. Regular veterinary check-ups and appropriate screening tests can help detect and manage these conditions.

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